Forging family relationships

This last week we had our first direct contact between Little Legs’ Foster Mum and Little Legs. I’ve been chatting with her lots on WhatsApp and sending photos and updates regularly, but there has been no direct contact with Little Legs for the year she has been with us.

Rightly or wrongly, we have been feeling our way to find something that feels right. For Little Legs, for our family and for theirs.

There is so much advice out there about continuing contact with foster families, initiating contact with birth families, and maintaining relationships with the significant others in our children’s lives.

But there is no blueprint.

Or template.

There is no right or wrong.

We waited a year. Having regular conversations between ourselves and with our social worker (and with other adopters and foster carers on Twitter) until we felt the time might be right.

Our situation is fairly unusual in that Little Legs was removed at birth and remained with her wonderful foster family for a number of years, for a number of significant reasons, until we came long. Her attachment to them was strong. And we were not sure how much she understood about being fostered by them.

We still aren’t.

But when she is older, she will still have spent a significant percentage of her life with her foster family. We need to help her to establish a new relationship with them:

one that helps her to make sense of her life so far,

one that allows her to grow up knowing who they are and how much they love her,

one that we must facilitate.

And so today, on the first anniversary of her moving from their home into ours, we made a Skype call to a very special lady. The date was unintentional and accidental. One year ago, Little Legs’ Foster Mum did what she described as the hardest thing she has ever had to do. She dropped her little girl off at our house and walked away.

Today we reconnected. And chatted. And laughed. And remembered. And just enjoyed each other’s company. It was less fraught and emotional than the last time we spoke, one year ago. It was relaxed and positive. Little Legs is a tired but happy girl.

My prayer is that we can continue to develop this new relationship. To feed it and help it to grow into something strong and meaningful. For us all. We will listen to Little Legs’ heart on it all. We will use our own wisdom and keep communication open. And hopefully we will all gain extra family members out of this.

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